Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Playing in India

The noblest service comesfrom nameless hands.And the best servant does his work unseen."
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes

"The only ones among you whowill be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."
-- Albert Schweitzer
What we have done for ourselves alonedies with us.What we have done for others and the worldremains and is immortal."
-- Albert Pine
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,do more and become more,you are a leader."
-- John Quincy Adams

I get these inspirational quotes everyday and I thought that the four above are very appropriate to what is presently going on in my life and maybe what has always been going on.

We are in the second week of our training and I’ve very much enjoyed learning Hindi. There are six of us in the class, with others learning the language appropriate to their placement. It’s slow going but today we went to a place called Dellihut, a place that I will bring you to if you visit. It is a government operated crafts and food market with the vendors changing every 15 days. See my pics at Anyway, I had an opportunity to practice some Hindi and the shop owners were quite patient with me. I’ve spent some time practicing on all of the children who live right outside the training area doors.

I bought a basketball a few weeks ago and have also played twice so far at the American Embassy School which was just great. I’ve played with people from the Philippines, my roomie, who is just as quick as lightening, Americans of course and a guy from Serbia and guy from Croatia. The guy from Croatia was bombing from three point land and of course missing layups. It is such a fun time and I’m so glad that I’ve found this game for both physical and mental health.

Ah, the children outside of my doors to the Indian Social Institute, where I am in training, are such a joy. I bought the basketball so that I could teach them some skills. It has been a challenge given my limited Hindi and there limited English. There are a few children who really know English, but at times they aren’t around. A few of us have also started putting paper and crayons, pens and markers out. Marbles are another great thing that Indian children love. Some of the drawings are just amazing and we’re saving them. Nothing that I would have expected. Two of the other volunteers play a guitar and dulcimer and the children really love this as well.

On some level I know that we are already making a difference. I actually played catch with the b-ball with a woman, maybe in her 60’s. She had a huge smile as I taught her how to throw bounce passes. The parents usually are just laughing at all of the fun that we have.

The children are now all calling me Michael and I say hello to just about everybody that I see. They all seem rather curious as I haven’t seen a whole lot of Caucasians in this area, although I know that there are a bunch of ex-pats around.

As I saw when I visited in 2006, the streets are so alive and there appears to be a strong sense of community. If you’ve viewed my pics you can see that this particular community makes these great flower necklaces. The flowers are delivered in the morning and mostly women turn them into these beautiful necklaces which are then brought to this Sai Baba temple around the corner from ISI. The area is front of the temple is quite wild, with people sleeping and visiting there most of the time.

One really has to be here to understand this culture. It truly is something so different than what I’ve experienced living in the US. The colors, sounds, smells! Maybe one can find these in the various ethnic communities, but in India one doesn’t have to look very far, it is right outside your door.

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